Roberta Smith noted in her recent New York Times article that "street art," the "vibrant successor" of "graffiti art," "originated in San Francisco in the 1990s among artists on the fringe of the skateboard scene." the article was discussing Jeffrey Deitch's recent appointment to be director of MOCA(la) and noted that Deitch "more or less introduced New York to ... street art."
She is presumably referring to Barry McGee and the mission school. Roberta identified Barry as "a talented street artist from San Francisco" and noted that he "offers a cheerful reinterpretation of 80's graffiti art" in her review of his 1999 show @ Deitch. she further contended "although drips are plentiful among these images and some parts are casually painted out, Mr. McGee does not partake of the looseness and speed associated with graffiti art. His notion of finish is refined, even tight." in her review of his 2005 show, she identified "Barry McGee, who helped ignite the street-graffiti art renaissance that emanated from San Francisco in the 1990's."
in thinking about this over the past few years, i've tied "street art" to the global community that was connected through the web by sites such as Wooster Collective. the recent street art exhibit at the Tate Modern was practically curated by Wooster: four of the six artists/collectives (Blu, Faile, JR, and Os Gemeos) are stars of the blog. Moreover, the "long weekend" corresponding to the show also included Graffiti Research Labs, another Wooster Collective favorite, and a Wooster talk.
as a long time follower of Wooster, i have enjoyed watching the street art community flower globally. looking through a search of their "seen on the streets" postings turns up work from around the world (starting with Ann Arbor, Paris, Antwerp, Washington D.C., Bloomington, Manchester, London, Tehran, Buenos Aires, New York, Puerto Vallarta, Amsterdam, Toronto, Williamsburg, Santiago, Hong Kong, Prague, Istanbul, Rouen, Lima, Trondheim, Lombardy, Rome, Munich, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Kaunas, Tasmania, Milwaukee, Naples, Denmark, Athens, Chicago, you get the idea).
a global street arts community, connected by the Internet (and festivals, like nuart in Norway, the cans festival in London, and fame festival in Italy), may be an outgrowth of what came out of San Francisco in the 1990s, and New York in the 1980s, but seems to be something new: street art 2.0.